Church group to host fundraiser to renovate community center

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Members of one Richmond community need your help completing an outreach program.  Donations from a fundraiser this weekend will be used to help finish renovations for the Chelsea Hill family Life and Resource Center in Whitcomb Court.

"We have several housing courts near us and people who have real needs," said program organizer Cynthia Losen.

Losen is a member of Pilgrim Baptist Church who owns and will operate the resource center. She says the finished project will expand a number of outreach programs already in place.

"We have programs have like the teen parenting program, the teen pregnancy program, boy scouts, other health affiliated kinds of programs; we just do a lot," she said.

But they want to do more, and that's where the building comes in.

"Right now we are in the rebuilding process," said church trustee Lewis Coates. "We had to renovate the whole building and get it usable. Eventually we are going to have it such that people in the community will have computer services for the seniors and youth, daycare centers, different services they can use."

Losen says the Whitcomb Court neighborhood used to be called Chelsea Hill.  The center they are now renovating was once a courts building and had sat unused since 1967. Coates says the roof was so bad you could go inside, look up and see the sky so having even half the building complete is a big step.

Right now a company called Rubicon leases the space for counseling services.  The cost of reaching the final goal will be well over a million dollars--but church members have faith they can get the funding.

Pilgrim Baptist Church also owns a neighboring building which is beyond repair; they hope to eventually tear in down and build something else to help the community like senior apartments.

If you'd like to attend the fundraiser, it's this Saturday, August 6th from 3:00 until 6:00 pm at Pilgrim Baptist Church.  That's located at 1900 Whitcomb Street.  It's a fish-fry, and the cost is between $5 and $10, depending upon what you'd like to eat.

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